Two Tamil parties on Saturday staged protests outside the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here, in Chepauk, demanding the removal and deportation of ICC umpire Kumar Dharmasena who is officiating at the first India-Australia test match.
The protests came in the wake of the publishing of controversial photographs of the late LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran’s son in the media.
Around 10 a.m., more than 40 members of the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam gathered outside the stadium and raised anti-Sri Lanka slogans and tore photographs of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. They demanded that Dharmasena be stopped from umpiring the match and leave the country immediately.
The group, carrying flags and placards, tried to enter the stadium where the second day’s play of the India-Australia test match was underway.
Police personnel on duty intercepted the group and prevented them from proceeding. Over 20 persons were arrested and taken to a spot near the Triplicane police station. They were later released on bail.
Members of the Naam Thamizhar Katchi also staged their protest against the Sri Lankan umpire in the city.
Over 20 cadres of the Tamil group gathered near the cricket stadium around 1.45 p.m. and raised slogans against the Sri Lankan president and demanded Dharmasena’s immediate return to Sri Lanka.
A posse of police personnel posted outside the stadium as part of security arrangements for the match stopped the men from entering the stadium. With much difficulty the police arrested the cadres, took them to a hall in the area and later released them.
Security teams are on high alert and did not even allow persons wearing black t-shirts to enter the stadium.
The security arrangements would remain even tighter as police have received information that anti-Sri Lankan protesters are planning to enter the stands in the guise of fans, sources said.